Chatting With CHATGPT On Selling…..

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I’ve been fascinated to read about the experiments people are doing with CHATGPT. It’s a fascinating tool, offering some potentially fascinating potential. At the same time, as so many others have discussed, using CHATGPT is a double edged sword; there are some very powerful applications, at the same time there is a huge potential for misapplication and misinformation.

Some of the articles I’ve read suggest that when “experts” are interacting with CHATGPT, it’s pretty easy to identify these potentially problematic areas—the issue is for those who may not know they may be getting misinformation. It appears, for the time being, CHATGPT is architected to provide as balanced an answer to a question as it can, neither taking a strong position one way or another. But as the technologies mature, and as people look to harness these technologies in different ways, this is an area of concern.

But let me share my experience and observations. I’ve pasted images of my chats at the end of this post–sometimes CHATGPT is quite chatty….

I decided to start with “easy” questions like, “What is the future of selling? How should sellerrs deal with buyer aversion to working with sellers?” I got to tactical questions like, “Is cold calling dead?” Then, I got to the questions of, “Would you be a seller if you could? Would you take a cold call if you could?” I discovered CHATGPT has a very dry sense of humor.

My observations:

  1. We are in the very early stages of leveraging this technology, but I can see, over time, it becoming a powerful tool and something that buyers will use extensively in their buying journey. As sellers, we need to understand this, understand how we might “show up” in tools like this. (I’ll come back to this later–there are really profound questions about how this will be used in customer digital buying.)
  2. I didn’t learn anything new in my interaction with the tool. The answers were very generic, very high level. The answers provided some information, though no data to support the information, and gave me no real insight. Stated differently, I didn’t learn anything that I didn’t already know.
  3. With a couple of questions, I tried drilling deeper into the response, but CHATGPT wouldn’t go there, it kept it’s responses very generic.
  4. The biggest thing is we didn’t engage in a conversation. CHATGPT answered my questions, but didn’t ever challenge me with a question like, “Why is that important to you? What do you think? What does it mean for you?” Selling is about collaborative conversations. It’s about understanding context and meaning with our customers. It’s less about providing answers, but helping customers think differently. At this point, CHATGPT is unable to do anything other than provide basic information and answers.
  5. CHATGPT, currently can only answer questions at a very basic level (at least those that I posed.) It can’t pose question that I should be thinking about. I’m not sure it builds it’s responses based on it’s experience of the questions that I ask. I suppose I have to experiment, over time, to see if it says, “Dave you tend to ask about these things, you might consider…..” or “Dave, these questions might be more useful…..” Currently, I suspect it does not have that capability. But when we look at the value that sellers bring to our customers it’s helping them discover the questions, it’s helping them learn from others facing similar issues, it’s helping the customer make sense of the information and data they encounter. Again, currently, it will provide only generic information on questions that are asked, not recognizing the questions might be the wrong ones.
  6. It currently answers your questions, but gives not guidance on what might be next, so it doesn’t help guide people through their buying process or solve their problem.
  7. The lack of supporting data and proofs is a real problem. Basically it provides a couple of opinions, or observations, but provides nothing to support those observations.
  8. I wasn’t able to test this, but I suspect if two people ask the same question, they might get the same answer, even though the underlying issues may be very different. Perhaps a reader of this post might experiment and ask exactly the same questions I ask and compare the answers. I’d love the feedback.

However, I think tools like CHATGPT can offer us and our customers great potential. Clearly, we are in the very early stages of these tools and they will “improve” quite rapidly. I think the greatest opportunity is in our digital interventions with the customer buying journey. I suspect SEO plays a strong role in how CHATGPT develops it’s answers. Unless the questions are very very specific, it might be very difficult to “show up,” or even to have the nuanced answers show up.

Clearly, the tools will ultimately have some sort of license-ability. We might be able to leverage these at our own websites to help customers navigate the information and insights we provide in our own web presence, helping them more easily get basic information. And we can leverage these to help navigate the customer to deeper insights through our analytics.

I also think understanding the questions our customers are asking helps us design our human interventions to be more timely and more relevant.

At these tools up their capabilities, it will require sellers to dramatically up their game. Deep collaborative conversations will continue where we make the deepest impact on our customers. Helping them think differently, drilling down into the issues that are important, helping them make sense, build confidence, learn. Understanding them and their business, helping them with the information and insights that are most relevant to them continues to be the real values sellers create.

Unfortunately, to many of our conversations are simply us providing information and answering questions. We’ve long seen customers shifting to digital channels because the quality of the information they get is higher than that they get with sellers. CHATGPT and tools like it will continue to accelerate this choice, unless we change our engagement strategies.

In any case, I expect these tools will evolve very quickly. There will be some who will exploit these both maliciously, and in ways that unintentionally mislead or misinform the customer, and us. Which continues to reinforce the age old wisdom of “Buyer beware,” though I would rephrase it to “Buyer be aware.”

Below is my conversation with ChatGPT, enjoy, it was a lot of fun. Scroll to the bottom to get some view of it’s sense of humor.

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